What Defines a Woman?
By Susan Skipper
– From The Messenger, November 2006 Issue
When I first got the call to write this article, I didn’t have a clue as to what I would or should write. I was told the theme was to be “Today’s Woman” and it scared me to death. I was told just the other day by a friend that I was a woman who “had it all together” and I thought, boy, if you only knew how wrong that statement was, you’d be surprised. Then I got to thinking … why shouldn’t I write this article? After all, I am a woman and I do live in today’s world.
I started thinking about what that meant and asked myself who I really am. I could take a route to answer that question by writing about my job or my family and friends, but does that really define who I am? For that matter, are any of today’s women defined by their relationships or jobs or family?
I know what I’d like to be, but does that define who I am? I work with people and money, but that’s not who I am. I have seven nieces and nephews, but that’s not who I am. I like to think that I have a few really close friends, but they don’t define me. I’d like to be slimmer, smarter, and a better person; but that’s not who I am either.
The only way to define who I am or who any of us are is to look at who we are in God. Consider the age old question: If a tree falls in the wilderness and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound? The idea being that, in order for sound to occur, it must travel across the intricate workings of the inner ear. In the same way, if we exist apart from Christ, do we really exist at all? The idea here is that we are only made whole when we are in fellowship with God.
So, does this mean that I am defined by my church or by my efforts there? Possibly. Not by what I do in the church, but by the desire with which I do it. The Bible tells us in Ecclesiastes 9:10, “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might …” (NIV). Therefore, if I teach, I should teach with all my might. If I pick up trash, I should do so with all my might. If I keep the nursery, I should do so with all my might, so that I might be considered a good and faithful servant, for that is who I truly desire to be.
No matter who I am now, my desire is to be a good and faithful servant because that is who God has called each of us to be. So, when life gets me down and when the cares of this world weigh upon me, I try to remember that I am but a humble servant in the service of my master.
What does it mean to be a servant? A servant is one who follows the directions of her Master. She does what He says in such a way as to receive a pleasing report from Him. This particular servant happens to work at an extremely stressful job. A typical day would include numerous phone calls from clients demanding immediate attention: investment/tax/estate and financial planning emergencies and decisions, deadlines and sales goals. When dealing with other people’s lives and money, things can get a little hectic.
I have also found that trying to be self-reliant takes a toll on you. Some of today’s women think that we have to be completely self-reliant, like Wonder Woman. We start as little girls wanting to have someone to look up to; someone who seems to have it all. As women, we tend to expect ourselves to become that Wonder Woman, in charge of all we purvey. We think we have to be like that old commercial where we can bring home the bacon, fry it up in a pan and never let anybody forget that we are a woman.
But the reality sometimes falls far short of the fantasy, and if we aren’t careful we can be overwhelmed by the discrepancy between what the world tells us today’s woman should be and what we really are. The world tells us that we don’t need anyone to complete us, including God. If we listen to this idea of who we should be, we can become very confused indeed. If we allow our own emotions and desires to define who we should be they crowd out who God is telling us we should be. That is why we must allow God to define who we are. He never changes and His standard for us never changes.
We can become today’s woman only when we surrender to the God who created us to be who He wants us to be. We can rest in the comfort of knowing who we are in Him. That is the only way in which any of us will truly “have it all together”.
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